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Council strategy restricts emergency beds

November 2nd 2010

There has been concern recently about the emergency beds for Birmingham's homeless usually provided by the Salvation Army's William Booth Centre.

Dr Graham Stubbs, who co-ordinates the support services helpdesk at St Martin's in the Bullring, said: "The Salvation Army emergency beds have been a direct link for homeless people. The service is a bottom-line safety net for anyone sleeping rough in Birmingham and was simple to access."

Homeless people now have to queue at neighbourhood offices and go through a demanding process. They may have to wait for three or four hours for referrals. The system is more complex and very impersonal for the service user. Unless individuals are assessed as extremely vulnerable, they will struggle to get an emergency bed.

These changes bring this service in line with Birmingham City Council's new "single point of access" strategy. Some beds have been allocated to the council for referrals from neighbourhood offices.

Garry Murphy, manager of the William Booth Centre, said: "The Salvation Army is working with the local authority to eradicate street homelessness in Birmingham. We still manage emergency beds for service users. Three emergency beds have been allocated to the Temporary Neighbourhood Team and one emergency bed has been allocated to the Rough Sleeper's Team at the Homeless Services Centre run by Midland Heart." If the Homeless Services Centre has not referred anyone by 10pm, the bed is then available to anyone else.

However, Dr Stubbs has expressed concern; "This system will not suit everyone. Unless you are a homeless person with severe mental health issues, are physically disabled or with young children, then you will not be accommodated. The chance of a homeless person being allocated an emergency bed after 10pm when there is only one bed available at the Homeless Service Centre, is low."


November 2010



London's hub

Why Rochester Row?

Over 1,800 convicted under Vagrancy Act

Estimates of ex-service homelessness exaggerated, claims charity

Gone, but not forgotten

A thousand cuts

Boris slammed by homelessness charity

Big Society event

Sleep outs spark debate

Homeless charities gear up for cuts

Children held for fire attack on homeless man in Jamaica

Housing associations treble surpluses

Homeless hate crime passed in Florida

Homeless tours of London

Punks party for the homeless

In from the cold

Ex-homeless Mr England

Housing benefit help

Council strategy restricts emergency beds

First new council homes in a generation

Evictions fall by a third

New changes to housing law

Churches charity urges government to meet housing targets

World Aids Day - 1 December

Could cuts see the return of hostels?

Street Shield 18: A mystery to solve


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